This module builds on the basic principles of population ecology introduced in year 1, to achieve a broad appreciation of current theory and practice in population and community ecology. Lectures and practicals will explore the processes involved in the dynamic functioning of both plant and animal populations and communities.
Aims and Objectives
Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:
- Explain the processes determining community assembly and dynamics
- Why competition occurs, how heterogeneity stabilises species interactions, and why predator-prey interactions tend to cycle
- Understand the key traits of trophic cascades and food webs
- Understand the basic predator-prey and parasite-host models (Lotka-Volterra, Nicholson-Bailey) and applications to disease dynamics
- Understand the application of population and community ecology theory to inform ecological management decisions
- Why living organisms grow exponentially, and the roles of intra-specific and inter-specific competition in population regulation
- How life history characteristics of different species contribute to their profiles of survival and fecundity
The module has three sections:
1. Population dynamics of animals, including exponential growth and density dependence, life history strategies, regulation of abundance, functional and numerical responses, spatial organisation, dispersal and metapopulations;
2. Multi-species population dynamics, including interspecific competition and dynamics of species that use each other as a resource;
3. Community ecology, including assembly and dynamics of ecological communities; and real-world applications of population and community ecology.
Learning and Teaching
Teaching and learning methods
Teaching and learning will involve lectures, field and lab practicals, analytical workshops, small-group discussions.
|Practical classes and workshops||24|
|Total study time||150|
Resources & Reading list
Krebs, C.J. (2013). Ecology: The Experimental Analysis of Distribution and Abundance. Benjamin Cummings.
Rockwood, L. R. (2015). Introduction to Population Ecology. Blackwell.
This is how we’ll formally assess what you have learned in this module.
This is how we’ll assess you if you don’t meet the criteria to pass this module.